As the new year approaches (like a freight train) a lot of us are considering setting goals; fitness, financial, spiritual, or tangible. Every kind of goal you can think of, and every level. From lofty to laughable we get the itch to set our minds toward becoming a better version of ourselves.
My fitness goal this year: achieve a 2 inch movement in my pelvis. Sounds ridiculous, right? But I am serious! All I want is 2 inches.
I recently started training for the Pilates Reformer, and I was brought to tears that my pelvis would not move the 2 inches my brain was telling it to go. Now, looking back, it was a very emotional weekend for plenty of reasons; I was coming to terms with weak inner thighs, no muscle control in some other movements, shoulder and back pain, tight hips, and ankles that are not as strong as they once were. In short, I was already disappointed with my starting point for this new practice.
The tears were tears of frustration and pride. I feel like I should be able to. I am afraid I have to live up to this standard of perfection because I teach. I do not want to come to terms with the fact that 3 pregnancies have significantly changed how my body works (or doesn’t). It is hard to admit that I am not where I think I should be in physical strength; and even more difficult to admit to myself that it may be because I have fallen into the habit of compensating for those weak areas by doing exercises improperly. It was so difficult in the moment that I felt like it must be someone else’s reality.
If there’s one thing you should know about me, for context, it’s that I am a mover. I have danced ballet for 22 years, I prefer riding a bike to driving, I have been practicing Pilates for 8 years, and I am a bear to deal with when I am not getting enough physical exercise. So in my head my body is (still) the well oiled machine it was 10 years ago, and all at once it became clear that my body is muscularly imbalanced, my tendons are either too tight or too loose, and my joints are starting to lose range of motion. I can still exercise to keep my mood in check, but I have not been exercising smart to keep my body functioning as well as it can.
So, here I am, expanding my Pilates practice, stuck at a starting point that I find incredibly frustrating, and now I can’t move my pelvis. After several deep breaths (and maybe a few weeks) I realized what I need to do. Number one, nobody is perfect, there will always be that one move that makes even the instructor cringe, so I can just join that club. Number two I need to come to terms with my starting point. And number three I need to focus on an attainable goal.
Number one and three are relatively easy, I’ve already done those. The second one though, requires a little more from me. There is pride to overcome, fear of failure, frustration that my body is not what it was, disappointment in my lack of strength, and the memory of a stronger more fit version of me to move past. The psychological work that goes into making progress in a fitness lifestyle is no small matter. I need to extend myself some grace because I'm not there yet, but I have a few more weeks to get there.
I hope as you contemplate your goals, you are able to look forward to 2018 with hope. But if you are in the same boat as me, and you have something to work through psychologically before that goal seems attainable, know you are not alone and we can do this! 2018 is the year for 2 more inches (or miles) of movement!
Pilates/ Ballet Instructor